Mapping Exposure-Induced Immune Effects: Connecting the Exposome and the Immunome

Partner in the spotlight: VHIR

January 10, 2022

We’re glad to welcome the New Year by continuing our partner in the spotlight series. Under the spotlight today is the Vall d’Hebrón Research Institute (VHIR), that promotes and develops biomedical research, innovation and teaching at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, the largest hospital of Barcelona (Spain). 

Since its creation in 1994, VHIR works to find solutions to the health problems of society, and contribute to spread them around the world. Under the motto: ‘the research of today will become the medicine of tomorrow’, VHIR develops clinical research, collaborating in a complex sanitary environment, Campus Vall d’Hebrón. Close interaction with Vall d’Hebrón Hospital enables the development of pioneer translational research. The clinical and basic research activity of the Pneumology Group at VHIR is mainly focused on areas of inflammation and repair, respiratory failure and tissue hypoxia, and there is complementarity and interrelatedness of these areas for the study of diseases such as asthma, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, infections, lung transplant, pulmonary hypertension and sleep-disordered breathing.

Within EXIMIOUS, the VHIR team including María-Jesus Cruz, Xavier Muñoz, David Espejo and David Soler investigate job exposures relative to immune function in an occupational cohort and in an occupational cohort:
1) the park workers cohort, icncluding workers from the Urban Pest Control and Surveillance Service in Spain, who experience a broad range of exposure to avian and fungal antigens. This cohort will be studied with specific emphasis to the degree of sensitization to specific antigens relative to the potential for risk of hypersentivity pneumonitis and autoimmune diseases development.
2) the Hypersentivity Pneumonitis (HP) cohort, which includes patients who suffer from this disease due to avian or fungal antigens. Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis is characterized by bronchoalveolar inflammation which originates from the inhalation of some usually organic substances. A population-based case control study will be established within EXIMIOUS with HP patients recruited from the pulmonary fibrosis clinic at VHIR. The patients will be matched with a healthy control group to compare and investigate whether exposure is different in patients versus controls.